Here's What Today's Top Companies Want You to Know Before Applying

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In today's job market, it never hurts to go the extra mile to give yourself an edge. While perfecting your resume and brushing up on your interview skills can help you land a great job, it also helps to know what today's hottest companies are after. Glassdoor recently compiled a list of the best places to work, and according to the hiring managers and executives who decide which applicants to hire, here are some of the qualities they're looking for in job candidates.

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1. Passion and motivation

It's helpful to go into an interview with a solid set of universal skills because the truth is that you need those qualities to get hired. But employers often look for more than just generic work skills; they look for passion. And unlike the sort of skills you can teach yourself, like spreadsheets and software, passion is something you really can't force. Rather, it needs to come naturally. So as you embark on your job search, figure out what it is that really drives you, and apply to those roles that seem like a natural fit. If you show that you really believe in the company you're applying to work for or the product you're being hired to develop or sell, you stand a better chance of getting hired.

2. Honesty and authenticity

Many job candidates don't show their true selves during interviews, partly because they're afraid to get too personal and partly because of nerves. But while an interview isn't the time to share your life story or talk someone's ear off about your favorite sports team, one thing you should do is help your interviewer understand what sort of person you are. Are you a self-starter who takes pride in his work? Or are you a team player who enjoys working with others? Aim to subtly but surely share things about yourself that speak to your character so that the companies you're meeting with know what positive qualities to expect from you.

3. Knowledge of each company you're applying to

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Going into an interview without researching the company you're applying to is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Not only should you be intimately familiar with what each company does, but you should also stay on top of its latest developments. Employers tend to favor candidates who go the extra mile, and in some cases, being thorough on the research front can help make up for a degree of experience you might be lacking. Put in a little time before your next interview, and things just might work out in your favor.

4. Knowledge of company culture

It's easy enough to research the companies you're applying to, but to really seal the deal, you'll need to prove to the people you're interviewing with that you're truly a good fit. That's why it pays to read up on company culture specifically, and that could mean everything from accessing anonymous reviews to talking to people who work for the employers you're hoping to impress. If you come in confident that you'll be a good fit and can convey that in an interview, you'll increase your chances of getting hired.

5. Internal references

It's often said that in the business world, the people you know are far more important than any skill or degree you might possess. And it makes sense. After all, nothing adds to your credibility like a referral from a trusted source, so if you know people at the companies you're applying to, ask them to serve as your references. Even if they aren't people you know well, if you have some sort of professional connection, there's a chance they'll be willing to vouch for you on a basic level -- and that could be enough to give you a leg up on the competition.

Knowing how to set yourself apart from the pack will increase your chances of landing not just any job, but a great one. Now that you've seen what the top companies out there are looking for, you can work on meeting the above criteria to make yourself as marketable as possible.

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